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by Kyle Stephan

The men’s golf team posted an impressive third-place overall finish as a team after competing in the CHAMP/ Patriot Intercollegiate tournament this weekend in Lorton, Va.  Villanova’s squad, which sent five golfers, competed against host George Mason University and 11 other teams in the 54-hole event.

The Wildcats competed in two rounds starting this past Saturday. The team finished Sunday morning at the par-71, 7,010-yard Laurel Hills Golf course. The five Villanova golfers starting the tournament were seniors Jimmy Johnston, Derek Jones, graduate student Cory Siegfried and seniors Steve Skurla and Michael Kania.

Through the first day of competition, Villanova was tied for fourth place overall in the team standings.

Throughout the tournament, the best four golfers’ individual scores counted towards team totals. Overall, the Wildcats carded a team total of 296 in the first round and 292 in the second round.

Senior golfers Michael Kania and Steve Skurla set the pace for the Wildcats, who were both tied for fifth overall after Saturday’s first two rounds. The senior captains contributed scores of 143 shots, which was only one shot over par and had to please Head Coach James Wilkes.

“Mike and Steve are our captains and team leaders, and they certainly played like it,” Coach Wilkes said. “Both were very steady throughout the event, showing patience, taking advantage of opportunities and being able to handle adversity.”

The following Sunday morning, seniors Kania and Skurla, as well as graduate student Cory Siegfried, posted their best rounds of the day. The University of Pennsylvania hit a birdie shot on the final hole to edge out the Wildcats for second place. Still, the Wildcats added a 286-team score in the third round to notch a third place overall team finish for the tournament.

Senior Jace Long from Missouri University finished first in the individual standings (-4), and led his team to a first place overall finish for the team.

Nevertheless, the Wildcats should be proud of their effort in Virginia after battling close with  the University of Missouri, who is ranked No. 11 in the country.

Senior golfer Michael Kania finished the three-round tournament tied for second place overall in the individual standings with two shots under par. Kania’s top finish was his highest thus far this season, due in part to his third round score of 68, which is three shots under par.

Senior Steve Skurla finished the third round with his best score of the day with a round of 69, or two shots under par. Skurla made the top five within the individual standings, tying for fourth place with an overall score of 212 for the tournament.

Graduate Student Cory Siegfried posted a score of 74 for the third round, his best score of the tournament. Seniors Derek Jones and Jimmy Johnston also contributed with scores of 75 in the last round, which helped lower the team’s overall score.  Villanova will need all this preparation for the upcoming Big 5 Invitational.

“We know that Penn is a very solid team, but every one of the Big 5 schools will be preparing hard and will put their best lineup out for the tournament,” Coach Wilkes said. “It is the biggest event of the year except for each of our conference championships, so every team will certainly approach it that way.”

The Big 5 Invitational is set for Saturday, Oct. 13, and Sunday, Oct. 14, in Huntington Valley, Pa.

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